Monday, October 20, 2008


A week ago the mother of a good friend passed away. The family didn't want a crowd at the funeral so my friend was quiet for a week. While I would have respected her family's wishes, I would have liked to know. There was an obituary, but I don't read the obituaries daily, so I missed it.

I have heard several of my parents' generation remark that they read the obituaries daily, but I haven't felt the need. I'm realizing I'm now old enough (turning 40 in January) that perhaps I should be too.

I don't subscribe to the local newspaper. I gather my news online. I can read the St. Louis Post Dispatch obituaries online, but that requires me to make a special effort to visit the website daily, and I am sure I would miss days.

There are only two ways I would be certain to see all obituaries in a timely fashion. If they were emailed to me, or if they appeared in my RSS newsreader. handles the obituaries for many newspapers - including the St. Louis Post Dispatch. They have an email service called ObitMessenger.

For $20 a year you can get every obituary sent to you with a particular surname (up to 5 surnames) across all their newspapers. They call this their Genealogy Package. Though it only sends you an obituary if the surname matches the deceased's. (So you won't get the obituary if it is their maiden name, or the surname of one of the relatives mentioned in the text.)

For $200 a year you can get every obituary with any keyword anywhere in the text (up to 5 keywords, and extremely common words not permitted.) For $15 per year you can get up to 5 keywords for one newspaper. They call these their Custom Keyword Packages.

That's nice, and has its uses. I might consider their Genealogy package for a few of my surnames someday. However, at this moment all I want is every obituary for one newspaper.

Luckily, I discovered on the Post Dispatch website that they do offer an RSS feed. I suspect not every newspaper does. Today I've added another feed to my newsreader, and I won't miss another obituary.

1 comment:

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

There is an online only paper that covers news of the county here and it includes local obituaries. I discovered a branch of my Kelly family that I previously knew nothing of this way. The Syracuse paper doesn't have a feed for obits. I try and check them every couple of weeks but often forget.